Real estate and facility costs represent more than 20% of most companies’ spend. Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS) are software solutions that enable executives and managers to reduce these costs significantly and increase business productivity in one go. An IWMS is useful for any organization looking for more efficiency, transparency, flexibility, and customer satisfaction in their facilities management processes.
Integrated Workplace Management Systems support business processes in real estate management, maintenance planning and control, space and workplace management, services management, project management, and sustainability management. True IWMS software is based on a single database platform where multiple business processes from all disciplines are interconnected. This ensures high quality management information, full compliance, and maximized monitoring and control. If you are interested in learning more about Planon’s IWMS software, please contact us to schedule a demo.
What you need to know about IWMS?
Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS) is the globally accepted name for software solutions that support processes in facility management and real estate management. The term was initially used in 2004 by Gartner, the leading technology research institute that evaluates and reports on the software and technology markets. IWMS is defined by Gartner as an enterprise-class software platform that integrates five key components of functionality, operated from a single technology platform and database repository. These functional areas are:
- Real estate and lease management
- Facilities and space management
- Maintenance management
- Project management
- Environmental sustainability
But what do you really need to know when starting an IWMS project? How do you ensure you’re selecting the best software for your business’ needs? And how can you maximize benefits from your IWMS?
Choose software that meets your needs
Your organization’s facility management and real estate strategy determines the scope, functionality, and processes an IWMS needs to support.
- Are you aiming your strategy at outsourcing FM? If so, then processes including Service Level Agreements and contract management, supplier management, performance monitoring, customer satisfaction surveys, and chain become relevant.
- Do you want to consolidate your real estate portfolio? In this instance, portfolio management, lease management, strategic space planning, scenario planning, and transaction management will play a key role in your IWMS.
- Do you want to add value to your core business? Efficient space and workplace management, room booking services, helpdesk support and self-service processes will help immediately.
- Is business continuity and compliance a high priority? In this case, planned preventative maintenance, reactive maintenance, security management, compliant administration, and reporting enable achieving your goals.
- Is corporate sustainability a key objective for your organization? Energy monitoring, waste management, carbon emission reporting, BREEAM or LEED certification and project management become relevant.
In addition to processes and workflows, it’s important to understand the required output, reports, KPIs and management information from an IWMS and to validate these requirements carefully when selecting your solution of choice.
For global organizations that operate in multiple countries or continents, the requirements for an IWMS will typically include requirements for multi language, currency, time-zone and measurements. To see other considerations for multinational companies, watch this video on implementing a global IWMS.
Use a standard solution
Just as IWMS has evolved to encompass more business processes, more companies have started shifting to standard software solutions. Project specific customizations and tailor-made software have shown to be expensive, time consuming, and extremely hard to maintain. Because business processes will change over time, most organizations choose an Integrated Workplace Management System that is able to adapt to changing needs within the standard software. Instead of customizing software, an IWMS should be configurable using a standard solution. This increases flexibility, reduces total cost of ownership (TCO), and ensures compatibility with new software versions. Learn more about how Planon’s software is configured with this video.
Select an IWMS that integrates
Not only should an IWMS be based on market standards like IPD, BOMA, CEN or LEED and BREEAM, it should also connect to various other IT solutions, like Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Human Resources (HR), Building Management Systems (BMS) or Smart Meters. These systems, including SAP and Oracle, contain data that is relevant for facility management and real estate management processes. For example, the IWMS should send financial charge back information to ERP, or update room- and phone information in the HR system. In addition to data exchange, today’s technology like Service Oriented Architecture (SOA or SOAP) even supports real-time process integration between software systems.
Read more about the Planon Integration Framework.
Five measurable benefits to build your IWMS business case
1. Full transparency
Not knowing your portfolio, its value, size, occupancy, planned maintenance, lease contracts, service suppliers, SLA’s, etc. brings an enormous risk in terms of costs, compliance, and business continuity. An IWMS gives you transparency in all relevant aspects by creating a standardized and structured data repository for all your processes. You know the exact amount of space available for future growth, the floor areas for contracting the cleaning, the expiration of lease contracts, and when the next maintenance needs to be executed. With this type of management information, you are back in control.
Facilities, office spaces, meeting rooms, and workplaces seem to be well utilized, however practice shows that their occupancy is on average just between 50% and 60%. An IWMS offers you the tools to measure and analyze your utilization and increase the effective use and value for your organization. This even allows you to eliminate underperforming facilities and spaces or change their functions. As an IWMS supports your business processes, you can easily analyze the performance of these processes and ultimately improve efficiency and quality of output. This type of system helps you identify bottlenecks, inefficiencies, excessive time spent, exceeding budgets or any other parameter that impacts your business. IWMS allows you to continuously improve and benchmark these processes to achieve maximized efficiency and customer satisfaction.
3. Proven compliance
Legal issues are having a bigger impact on real estate and facility management. Health & safety, maintenance, security, sustainability, and FASB lease accounting are just a few examples of areas with increasing need for compliant processes and reporting. Structured administration and documentation needs to be in place to prove compliance in case of any audit or incident. An IWMS ensures compliance, protecting you from any legal consequences.
4. Decision support
In today’s business climate, it is extremely important to make the right decisions fast. Mergers, acquisitions, restructuring, budget constraints, and other economic factors put high pressure on facility managers and real estate managers. This increases the need for reliable and integrated management information to support decision making processes. IWMS supports operational, tactical, and strategic decision making with reports, analyses, dashboards, and benchmarks. In addition to standard reports, IWMS allows organizations to create specific output or analyses based on historical trends and future forecasts.
5. Cost savings
All of these IWMS benefits include direct and indirect cost savings and revenue increasing benefits. Gartner published an analysis on IWMS savings stating a 10-15% cost reduction in space by effective and efficient management, 5-8% costs savings by process improvements and better contracting, and 5-8% savings in lease costs by professional lease administration.
Build your business case
Before selecting and implementing an Integrated Workplace Management Systems, we recommend making a business case including internal and external costs and monetary and non-monetary benefits from a three year perspective. In many cases the IWMS software costs are a minor part of the total investment. Data collection, change management, internal costs, IT infrastructure and project management should be taken into account.
Also, specific customizations or integrations can impact the Total Costs of Ownership (TCO) heavily, depending strongly on the vendor and solution of choice. The IWMS deployment and support model is also a part of the business case: is the IWMS installed within your organization or hosted by the vendor? Is application management done internally or outsourced to the vendor? These choices will impact both costs and benefits.
If you would like to talk with someone about the benefits of IWMS software, please contact us with your questions.
White Paper Building a credible business case
Before selecting and implementing an IWMS, it’s recommended to build a business case including internal and external costs and monetary and non-monetary benefits from at least a three year perspective.
Webinar How innovation makes an IWMS relevant and easy to use
The convergence of new technologies – such as mobility, The Internet of Things, and Big Data –as well as new workforce values have laid the foundation for a broad, fundamental revolution in the IWMS landscape.
What is IWMS? What is IWMS?
The paper explains the most important differences between IWMS and Computer Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) and Facility Management Information Systems (FMIS). Also the evolution of these systems in terms of standardisation, integration capabilities, workflow orientation, CAD and BIM connectivity, and technology are described.
Video Why international companies need an IWMS
In this video from The Facilities Show 2014, presenter Roger Parslow discusses why companies choose an IWMS and the benefits it offers an organization.